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Fine Gael TD: "Yes, I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal."

Michelle Mulherin confirms she made calls to Kenya from her phone in Leinster House, but says they were not personal.

Michelle Mulherin
Michelle Mulherin
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 10.55am 

FINE GAEL TD Michelle Mulherin has confirmed that she made calls from Leinster House to an individual in Kenya, but has denied they were personal.

Mulherin has spoken publicly after it was reported last week that a TD or Senator had made over €2,000 of calls to a mobile phone number in Kenya between 2011 and 2013.

The calls were consistently the most expensive made from Leinster House.

Speaking to Today with Seán O’Rourke, the Mayo TD confirmed the calls were made to an individual by the name of Danson Kole who she said had been “maligned and defamed” in the media.

“Yes, I made some calls to Africa. None of them were personal. Indeed for the most part they pertained to a third party, who is a private citizen, who had been maligned and defamed in a newspaper article because of association with me and potential legal action arising there from.”

She later added: “I had communications with Dan over a period of time and as I say he’s somebody that I would have dealings with in relation to political situations.”

The RTÉ journalist who broke the phonecalls story, Ken Foxe, has pointed out on Twitter that many of the calls made to Kenya pre-date the newspaper article in question:

‘A bigger issue than Michelle Mulherin’

Mulherin said she was not in a position to explain any of the figures as “all of this is coming at me from the media”. She said she has written to the Ceann Comhairle seeking that he “get to the bottom of it”.

“I have never been contacted by the Oireachtas or anybody in Leinster House in relation to any problem with phonecalls,” she said.

She said the calls were made as part of her work as a politician and repeatedly insisted they were not of a personal nature.

“I maintain the manner in which I used the phone was within the standard way, except it just happened to be somebody who was in Kenya,” she said.

Mulherin added that she would “absolutely no problem making a refund if that’s what’s required”.

“I didn’t act outside the jurisdiction of what I am allowed to do as part of my job as a politician,” she said.

Mulherin expressed concerns that the emergence of this story was “a gamechanger” as elected politicians now run the risk of having their communications with potential whistleblowers being compromised.

She said this made it “a bigger issue than Michelle Mulherin”.

Read: Which politician made €2,000 worth of calls to Kenya from Leinster House?

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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